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Mechanical and Plant Engineering: How to Prepare Your ERP System for the Future

Reading Time: 3 Minutes 06.04.2021 Currents & Trends

The three pillars of the digital backbone

Mechanical and plant engineering companies have a bright future ahead of them, despite many crises. To fully exploit their potential, they need a modern ERP system. Their success is based on a three-pillar approach.

The mechanical and plant engineering industry has seen better times. Corona, Brexit, and the US-China trade war have left their marks. However, small and mid-sized enterprises consider the digital transformation their biggest challenge. At the same time, it is also their biggest chance.

Since the digitalization revolves around a future-proof ERP system, many companies have to replace their software. The success of this gigantic project depends on three pillars:

  1. Software Selection: Rely on Standards!
    In the past, there was no getting around numerous customizations in order to map industry-specific processes. But things have changed. Instead of relying on a maximum of customizations, you should be looking for industry solutions. Most of them already meet all essential requirements. It is not just about currently required functions like quote versioning, detailed project costing, growing bills of materials, shipping bills of materials and optimized service plans. The solution should also provide and develop functions which will play an important role in the years to come, for example, functions for mapping new business models for renting or hire purchasing.

    Of course, the ERP system must still be flexible enough to adapt to the specific requirements of your company and to fit in the existing IT infrastructure. It is therefore worthwhile to thoroughly check the technology, especially the configuration options, databases, and interfaces. It is even better if the ERP system already combines several solutions and provides modules for CRM, document management and workflows. Only a modular and deeply integrated approach allows for a seamless data exchange. Another benefit is that you only use and pay for the modules you actually need.
  2. Time to Value: Use Prototyping!
    Time-consuming definitions of rough and detailed concepts are a thing of the past. As a modern software provider, we accelerate the implementation of your system with the help of prototypes. The first one will be ready after only six to twelve weeks. It will give your key users an early first impression of their future working environment. This is one of the reasons why we have named our methodology proMETHEUS Fast Track. The approach also includes a full set of process templates for mechanical and plant engineering. These process maps reflect our years of experience in the manufacturing industry and are continuously adjusted to the most recent developments. They help to reduce the effort required for process modeling, and hence the project duration.

  3. Partnership: Act as Equals!
    If you choose an ERP provider today, you make that decision for the next ten, if not twenty years. It is therefore essential to make the right choice. Your selection criteria should not only take into account the technical requirements. A long-standing, trusting cooperation also requires industry expertise, proximity to SMEs and the opportunity to actively engage in the further development of the software. For instance, we have regular workshops with the proALPHA User Group to further develop the software. You should not only rely on checklists and information disclosed by the provider when you choose the digital backbone of your company and hence your future. You should thoroughly check your candidates during reference visits and practice days to make sure that you are choosing your perfect SME partner.

2020, the year of the corona virus, has shown that well-digitalized companies with a central information and controlling system have a better chance of weathering a crisis. Provided that the solution fits the company, of course.

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